In the Company of Writers: A Life in Publishing

Overview

Scribners lively & informal memoir of a life spent among writers. He provides an intimate view of a family — & a family business — devoted to books & to the characters who produced them: Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, Edmund Wilson, P.D. James, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, James Jones, & Ernest Hemingway. In that era, business was based on close, sometimes stormy, ties between publisher & author. Scribner headed Scribners from 1952 to 1986, & was less interested in preserving traditions than...
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In the Company of Writers: A Life in Publishing

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Overview

Scribners lively & informal memoir of a life spent among writers. He provides an intimate view of a family — & a family business — devoted to books & to the characters who produced them: Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, Edmund Wilson, P.D. James, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, James Jones, & Ernest Hemingway. In that era, business was based on close, sometimes stormy, ties between publisher & author. Scribner headed Scribners from 1952 to 1986, & was less interested in preserving traditions than in exploring new intellectual domains, such as through a new kind of reference book publishing, beginning with the monumental Dict. of Scientific Bio.

In his lively, informal, and extremely candid memoir of a lifetime spent among books and authors, Charles Scribner, Jr., offers an intimate view of a family--and family business--from his early childhood in the 1920s, when Max Perkins was editing Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Wolfe, through his classical studies at Princeton and cryptanalysis during WWII, which prepared him for taking the reins of Scribners in 1952 at age 30. 16-page photo insert.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
When the author, heir to the now-defunct House of Scribner, became its president in 1952, he carried on the family tradition begun by his great-grandfather in managing the Manhattan-based fiefdom comprising a printing firm, bindery, publishing company and the landmark Fifth Avenue Scribner Book Store, the ``Sistine Chapel of bookselling, which never made money'' (recently acquired by Waldenbooks for its Brentano chain). Revealing, opinionated, entertaining if awkwardly organized, audacious and stuffy by turn, this anecdotal re-creation of yesterday and today in a business that now ``belongs to the entertainment industry much more than to the literary world'' will captivate readers. Taking over the firm, Scribner perceived his most pressing challenge to be destroying the ``Maxwell Perkins cult,'' putting paid to the legacy of the editor who introduced F. Scott Fitzgerald et al. to the world, by charting the house into more profitable reference-book publishing. Given pride of place in the memoir, nevertheless, are recollections of Hemingway--``working with him was rather like being strapped in an electric chair''; not neglected, either, are Scribner stars James Jones, Loren Eisley, C. P. Snow, P. D. James, and publishing notables of the stripe of Oscar Dystel, Cass Canfield, William Jovanovich. Litterateurs will fault Scribner's cursory explanations for merging the house with Macmillan (in 1984) and for posthumously publishing Hemingway's letters against the novelist's wishes; most readers, however, will take pleasure in the company of these book folk, finding them, as Scribner does, ``an agreeable fraternity.'' Photos not seen by PW . First serial to the New York Times Book Review. (Jan.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684192505
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 1/1/1991
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.43 (w) x 9.54 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Scribner, Jr. was the son of Charles Scribner III and the longtime head of the Charles Scribner's Sons book publishing company. He succeeded his father in 1952 as chief of the family publishing house, which had been founded by his great-grandfather in 1846. Charles Scribner, Jr. oversaw its operations until 1984. He was Ernest Hemingway's personal editor and publisher in the last portion of Hemingway's career. He is the author of In the Company of Writers and In the Web of Ideas.

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